13 February 2008

Somalia: Violence Puts Some 2 Million People At Risk, Says UN

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that there are up to 2 million vulnerable people in need of humanitarian aid in war-wracked Somalia, which has not had a functioning government since 1991 and where fighting has intensified in recent months.

In the capital Mogadishu, the number of people escaping the city to the poorest areas of the Horn of Africa nation has doubled to 700,000 in the last six months.

At the same time, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters in New York the "constrained movement of aid workers" is causing concern.

The transport and delivery of crucial items such as food is being impeded by roadblocks, taxes and banditry, which are also responsible for a surge in numbers of people needing assistance.

In late January, three staff members of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)-Holland were killed in the southern port city of Kismayo when their car was hit by a roadside bomb outside the town of Kismayo. A Somali journalist, Hassan Kafi Hared, as well as a Somali boy, were also reportedly killed in the blast.

Copyright © 2008 UN News Service. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 2,000 reports a day from more than 130 news organizations and over 200 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.